Monday, May 30, 2011

On Sunday, before the rain began in earnest, I spent a very happy time pottering about Magic Garden, sprinkling blood and bone like fairy dust and deheading the last of the roses. Miss C helped me plant the first of the broad beans and in the space where most of my echium had been, we made a bed of leeks. During some harsh winds last week, the echium I'd bought at the last Bilpin Rare Plant Fair had had its central stem blown clear away. It had been no bigger than my hand and I'd congratulated myself regularly on how wonderful it was looking. Well over a metre high and a good two wide. Pride goes before a fall, they say...only three lateral branches remain and I'm hoping to encourage them to set root. Who knows if it'll work, I've gone for the layering technique as they were all but on the soil anyway and have heaped some lovely, potent vegie patch mix from Tunks over each. I've a feeling they might be too woody to take, we shall see.

Whilst I was admiring these sasanqua camellias out the front, I was stopped by a gentleman who had known Magic Garden's original owner, Mrs Batty. I often think of her and it tickles me that this happens, people who knew Mrs Batty are so keen to let me know how thrilled she'd be to know her garden was being restored with love and mindfulness. Positive reinforcement makes a world of difference, particularly when it sometimes feels that progress is slow. It's nice to know that others can see the improvement and that the person who had gardened so lavishly and passionately would approve. Well into her nineties, Mrs Batty could be seen working away in the gloaming and I can only hope that I might be just as spry.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Things your mother told you...

No matter how frigid the weather outside, up mountainside if the sun is shining and the wind factor is low, you have to be happy...except if you've sucumbed to some random illness and then given it to both your children. Then malaise of epic proportions sets in and it seems there's not enough stiff up lip in the world to get you out and about. And worst of all, you know that the smallest effort will make all the difference. Sometimes I think my totem animal is the hippotamus, I love a good wallow.

Thankfully, after a week of this carry on, on Saturday I finally managed to shake off the shackles and get out into Magic Garden. A simple afternoon in the autumn sunshine, planting clever clover, radish and more garlic; transplanting some succulents and the last if the butterfly plant.

It's true: fresh air does you the world of good.

Monday, May 2, 2011


The problem as viewed from Miss C's bedroom.
As I mentioned recently, I have what some might call a procrastination problem...I prefer to reconceptualise this issue as a gestational solutions-based paradigm. Which means, I simply can't stand making a decision for the sake of being able to say I have done. I'd rather take my time and allow the way of proceeding to present itself in the fullness of time. And when it comes pecolating down or bubbling up or however it arrives, it feels good and right and you can move forward knowing you've not wasted time or more frustratingly, money. This approach is more correctly called a discipline, as it requires much; it is especially well suited to matters of the heart...and gardening.

Since we took on Magic Garden, Husbando and I had loosely decided to work front to back; pruning, removing noxious weeds and improving the soil with mushroom compost and sugar cane mulch. Then, the plan was to leave it for a year and see what happened. To be truthful, finances didn't really allow for much else! But now that our self-imposed moratorium on decision making has passed, it feels like it's time to start slowly making some improvements. As always, the onus is there to avoid pointless, pretty, busy work and focus on things that actually need doing. Ah, the conundrums of modern life...what happens when you're aware of what needs to be done but can't decide on the resolution? Enter the gestational solutions-based paradigm and allow the universe to provide!
In the front yard of Magic Garden, there was a clearing that had been loosely paved by very old rock. Nothing too special, it was slippery and uneven and featured a horror show of a blackberry infestation. In my frugal state of mind, I decided that I could use that rock to make an attractive stone wall elsewhere and dug it all out. Of course, the stone wall got waylaid and now I have an even weedier mess than I started with. Oh, the joy of pointless pretty, busy work! However, now that I have repackaged high calibre indecisiveness as a gestational solution-based paradigm, I am proud to announce my course of action has been the UK mag, Living etc.

The solution kindly provided by Living etc. May 2011

Using the hot pink rhodo as a central point, recycled sleepers will radiate out like spokes on a bike. These will act like stepping stones of sorts and also break up the expanse of gravel in between. Only question now is what type of gravel? I'm leaning towards crushed pink granite, which should work nicely when the rhodo is in bloom. And if it ever stops raining and we get this project sorted before we see the first blossoms, I'll be very pleased.